The snow is finally starting to accumulate at Crater Lake National Park, so the Central Oregon Nordic Club is going ahead with plans for its annual trip to the winter wonderland on the first weekend of March.
The dates this year are arrival on Friday, March 2, and departure on Sunday, March 4. As in the past, we will be staying at the Prospect Historic Hotel Bed and Breakfast Inn, Motel and Dinner House.
Skiers and snowshoers head to the park on their own or in small groups on Friday, March 2; a suggested time to meet up with others would be about noon at the park Rim Village. We “play” for a few hours, then head on to the hotel in Prospect, Oregon. We will head back to Crater Lake to “play” some more on Saturday and Sunday, leaving the park for Bend when the weekend is over.
The staff at the Prospect Hotel will provide dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, plus breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. You are on your own for lunch.
The trip is open to most any activity, whether you want to Nordic ski or snowshoe at Crater Lake, stay at the hotel and play board games, or hike area trails. Here’s a tip – some club members in the past have taken skis, snowshoes and hiking boots, then let weather and snow conditions dictate what they do.
We resumed the trip two winters ago after two previous low-snowfall years, and we had 47 participants in 2016 and 44 last year, our largest turnouts ever. The snowfall in the Cascades was light in December but has picked up in January. As of this writing, the National Park Service is reporting that the snow depth at headquarters (which is a lower elevation than the park rim) is 58% of normal at 50 inches, although up significantly from 37% a week ago. Further, the National Weather Service was forecasting up to four more feet of snow by the end of Saturday.
The cost of the trip — including two nights and four meals — will be $168 per person to stay in the motel, which is a separate building, or $198 per person to stay in the main hotel/bed and breakfast. This cost includes room tax plus gratuities for staff that both cleans rooms and serves our meals. Non-alcoholic drinks such as soda, coffee and tea are included in the cost; alcohol is no-host and there is an $11 corkage fee if you bring your own bottle of wine to dinner. If somebody requests a single room, the cost is an extra 20%.
The hotel offers us what we consider a low rate on the expectation that we will fill as many beds in each room as possible. As a result, we try to assign couples to small rooms with one bed, and single people will be assigned to larger units that have either three or four beds. However, in the larger units, two of them are normally twin beds in an adjoining room. All of the beds in a unit may be of different sizes, and it will be up to the occupants of a room to decide who sleeps where. Everyone will have his or her own bed.
The offset to this is the low rate. If you subtract out the value of meals, beverages, tips and room tax, the people sleeping in the motel are probably getting their bed for something like $30-$35 a night.
The menu is a spaghetti dinner buffet Friday night and breakfast buffets each morning. On Saturday, those attending can pick between prime rib, vegetarian lasagna or salmon.
We encourage members to carpool with friends, although we will NOT try to arrange a formal carpool where everyone leaves from the same spot. Remember – it’s important to go with somebody you know has comparable abilities so Person A (driver) does not have to cut a ski outing way short because Person B (passenger) only wants to ski a half hour. You can try to arrange your own carpools using the CONC Meetup site, but again, look for others who would be likely to do the same activity/distance.
Details On Sign-Up For Trip
The trip is only open to members of the Central Oregon Nordic Club, although of course people are welcome to join the club in order to do the trip. Membership is $25 per year per family.
The deadline to sign up and pay the full fee is Feb. 24. Sorry but there are no refunds for cancellations after this date, as we are committed once the Prospect Inn places a special food order.
If you want to attend, please take the following steps:
Fill out the “overnight trip form” at this link. (It’s on the home page of the CONC website). You can fill out one form per couple, but EACH person must sign the liability waiver at the bottom.
Mail this form and a check for the full amount ($168 per person for separate motel, $198 per person for main lodge, and extra 20% if you request a single room) to Allen Sykora; 2631 NW Ordway Ave.; Bend, Oregon 97703. Make checks payable to Allen Sykora. (Club does not run any CONC trips through our volunteer treasurer.) You are not officially signed up until Allen receives form/payment.
Also, please make clear on the form whether you are single person or a couple sharing a room. Roommates will be assigned for single people, although we’ll try to match friends who MUTUALLY make such a request. In fact, we wish you would pick your own roommates.
Also, please write on the top of the form whether you want lasagna, prime rib or salmon on Saturday night. If your choice is prime rib, let us know how you want it cooked. Also, specify whether you want vegetarian spaghetti sauce on Friday.
The main lodge has both queen and double beds. The rooms with queen beds are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.
FYI – the north entrance to the park and is closed for winter; access is from the west entrance or south entrance on Highway 62. The Rim Drive around the lake is not snowplowed; in fact, the most popular ski route is simply to follow the buried road, starting from the Rim Village. One change from past years is the park now charges for entrance during the winter.
You can check out the Crater Lake website by clicking right here. In particular, notice the link for “Explore the Park on Snowshoes” – you can call the National Park Service ahead of time to sign up for a free 1 p.m. guided ranger snowshoe walk; even the snowshoes are provided free of charge. Another useful link on the website is “Plan Your Visit”; once here, you will see a place to click for “current conditions.”
(Photos of 2017 trip courtesy of Dawn Sykora)